FPI Reports on Trends in Foodservice Packaging


FALLS CHURCH, VA | The Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) has published this year’s Trends Report, which examined an ever-evolving foodservice packaging supply chain. The report, which details results of FPI’s annual Trends Survey, revealed the following industry shifts:

• Packaging: This year’s foodservice packaging trends focused on both the environmental attributes as well as the “look” of containers. Demand for products that can be recycled and/or composted continued, with perhaps a greater interest this year in compostable products, which could be the result of a growing number of food waste diversion initiatives throughout the foodservice industry. Respondents also pointed to the use of unique colors, shapes, and sizes that help to incorporate branding in a package. Clear (transparent) packaging was also mentioned, which focuses the visual cues on the foods and beverages, instead of the container.

• Raw materials: Shifts within the resins used to make foodservice packaging continue, and this year’s survey results showed greater demand for polypropylene in particular. On the paper front, increased interest in molded fiber, especially from domestic sources, were noted.

• Machinery: The trend in machinery used to manufacture foodservice packaging is the use of highly automated machines that run faster, more efficiently, and at lower costs.

• Distribution: Survey respondents purported that the proposed merger of the two largest foodservice distributors would lead to changes in the broader distribution landscape. If the Sysco Corp. acquisition of US Foods is secured, the rest of the distribution community will need to adapt to compete. This could lead to additional niche distributors, as well as more mergers and acquisitions within small to medium companies.

• Operations: Foodservice operators are looking to differentiate themselves from the competition. Healthier menu offerings, sustainability initiatives, and packaging are a few ways to satisfy the changing demographics of today’s consumers and drive sales.

“FPI’s Trends Report lets us share an upfront glimpse into the industry and how it is evolving,” says FPI president Lynn Dyer. “This year, changing demands throughout the supply chain are impacting our industry and how we adapt and serve the needs of customers.” The survey was distributed earlier this fall, collecting opinions from companies in the raw materials, machinery, packaging, distribution, and operations sectors. The first section of the report contains more than 15 pages of direct comments and insights by industry players. These results were analyzed to identify the key high level trends, which are included in the second section of the report.

The report, now in its sixth year, is complimentary to FPI members. Non-members may purchase it for $250.

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